Israeli women aged 20-33 will be able to receive state-funded abortions for non-medical reasons if the recommendations of a Health Ministry commission, published Monday, are passed into law. [Times of Israel]
JEWISH LAW on abortion gives power to the woman. The fetus inside a woman is not considered a person until it can live outside the body on its own. This is the exact philosophical theory I’ve had and written on abortion since I was old enough to consider the topic. It will be fascinating to see how the American right reconciles Israel’s move, considering that conservatism today revolves around invasion of privacy at all levels of a woman’s reproductive freedoms.
Prof. Yonatan Halevi, who chaired the Health Ministry commission, said, “one of his considerations was that women were avoiding abortions in hospitals because of financial difficulty, or because of a desire to hide the pregnancy,” according to the Times of Israel.
Israel’s respect for women and their right of privacy makes the United States look like a throwback to another age. Since 2010, there have been over 200 bills passed to curtail women’s abortion rights, in the hopes of making abortion unattainable. The battles of 2014 have already begun, with Think Progress laying out the states attacking women’s abortion rights, which include Missouri (of course), Tennessee, South Carolina, Maryland and Alabama.
In the United States, reproductive rights policy and politics are driven by religious conservatives, no matter the political party where they are found, though most adhere to the Republican Party, which has in its platform that women do not have the basic human rights of control over their own body. It’s this type of politics that has spread across states where the right holds power.
Will the right voice their opposition to Israel’s abortion policy, which is backed by Jewish law that directly confronts Republican extremism, when it comes to women’s abortion rights? One can just imagine the collective wailing and gnashing of teeth going on in overseas calls by American conservatives to their Jewish allies.
Maybe this story will give more people in America permission to be unafraid to state flatly that a poor woman has the right to have an abortion, including getting funding through government agencies, if she cannot afford a child from an unwanted pregnancy. Perhaps the remaining Democrats who tip toe around abortion rights will quit being so timid about this subject.
America’s women would benefit if liberals and progressives, independents and libertarians, as well as conservatives who understand the real meaning of the word, which is to keep the government from meddling in our most private decisions, stood together and adopted the same stance as Israel when it comes to women’s abortion rights.
Approval is practically automatic if the pregnant woman is younger than 17 or older than 40; if the conception was a result of rape, incest or extramarital relations; if the pregnancy is likely to endanger the mother’s physical or mental well-being; or if the fetus has been diagnosed with a possible birth defect.
Women also do not need the consent of any male, including the father of the child, nor do minors need the consent of parents or guardians. Israeli medical coverage offers an array of free testing for genetic and congenital birth defects.